zen

Linji ~ If you want to be free

If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.

It has no form, no appearance,
No root, no basis, no abode,
But is lively and buoyant.

It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.

Therefore when you look for it,
You become further from it;
When you seek it,
You turn away from it all the more.

~ Linji

The Five Gatekeepers of Speech

These are the “Five Gatekeepers of Speech,” as found in this tweet by Joan Halifax, where she writes, “I feel to repost this now as a guard against lying becoming a norm in our society”:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it beneficial?
  4. Is it necessary?
  5. Is it the right time?

I learned about these gatekeepers a long time ago, both through my study of Zen and from my yoga teacher.

David Lynch, transcendental meditation proponent

David Lynch (the director, not the realtor I knew in Kentucky) is a big proponent of transcendental meditation (TM). He writes about how he started with it, and about the transcendental meditation technique (with clips from Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and others). Here’s a YouTube video titled, David Lynch on Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain, and here’s a related Jerry Seinfeld video on TM.

When we choose to perform an activity, we make it a gift

“When we choose to perform an activity, we make it a gift by dedicating our entire body-mind to it, by making it the only task we do in that moment. In that way, all activities are included in one, and all activities are unified. This is how our activity fills the universe, and how we express complete understanding in our work.”

(I don’t remember the source of this quote, but it sounds like something Shunryu Suzuki would say.)

“Life is like a dream”

When you hear mindfulness people say something like, “Life is like a dream,” one thing they mean is that more than 99.99% of the stuff going on in our minds are thoughts about the past and the future. (Past happiness or regrets, and future hopes and concerns.) Because the only thing that’s real in the present moment is what’s actually happening in *only this moment*, anything that’s outside of this moment is in a strict sense no longer real.

Along this line of thinking I like Eckhart Tolle’s two quotes, “The present moment is all you ever have” — you know that to be true for sure if you’ve ever lost consciousness, not knowing if you’d ever open your eyes again — and, “The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now.”

Your true self alvin February 5, 2018 - 5:20pm

I usually just encourage people to meditate so they can learn to relax, but there’s another good reason to meditate: It helps you find out who you are. Since you were born, you’ve been programmed by your parents, siblings, other relatives, friends, and teachers; meditation is a way undoing all of that programming. Once you shed that programming, what remains is your true self.

Zen koan: It would be better if you died

Zen koans often turn into humorous Abbott & Costello skits. For those new to Zen, the “It would be better if you died” reference just means that you should meditate like you’re in your coffin, which is further embodied in the Zen phrase, “Dead men have no desire.” (As long as you have desire, Zen will keep its distance from you.)

~ From the book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

“They are the eyes and ears of karma. And that’s the problem.”

“Some people say, ‘Listen, listen!’ And they talk. I say nothing, it’s better. People’s opinions are the product of their karma. ‘I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears.’ But those eyes and ears are not a reliable reflection of absolute truth. They are the eyes and ears of karma. And that’s the problem.”

~ The Way of Ture Zen, Taisen Deshimaru